The Statutory Dispute Resolution Regulations and statutory minimum disciplinary procedures have been consigned to the bin. Many would say this is where they belong – because although the basic premise of a universal procedure was sound, the Regulations were written so as to give rise to uncertainty and litigation on a grand scale.
Now the minimum requirement is for employers and employees to follow the ACAS Code of Practice. This has similar features to the previous statutory procedures.
So where an employer wishes to undertake a disciplinary procedure the key elements are :
• Establish the facts of the case
• Inform the employee of the problem
• Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the problem
• Allow the employee to be accompanied at the meeting
• Decide on appropriate action
• Provide the employee with an opportunity to appeal
Faced with this situation an employer would be well advised to read the Code of Practice and take advice before taking action.
A failure by an employer to follow the Code is likely to result in a dismissal being unfair and in a Tribunal awarding an uplift of compensation of up to 25%.
It should also be borne in mind that employers should have a written rules and procedure for handling disciplinary situations. Many will not have reviewed those previously put in place during the days of the Statutory Dispute Resolution Regulations. When considering the process an employer must not only follow the Code, but also its own written rules and procedures.
Memo to employers : Ask Hand Morgan & Owen to review your written disciplinary rules and procedures.
For more information please contact Patrick Nelson on 01785 211411
18 March 2010
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)